Friday, June 30, 2006

(For HIM)

Just got your morning poem
and I'm sitting here, in ponder.
Thinking 'bout your sadness,
and I can't help but wonder

if there's something I can say
(since I've oft been there before)
discontent, afraid and blue,
and life is such a chore.

Sometimes we think ourselves to death
with thoughts devoid of hope,
not realizing it's the opposite mind
that truly helps us cope.

Why do we waste away today
with fears about tomorrow?
Spend all day feeling negative,
And fill our nights with sorrow?

I look out my kitchen window
and see a squirrel perched on the fence.
"What must life be like for him,
living solely by primal sense?"

For surely he's not worried
about what he's got to do.
He'll start to think about winter
when time comes for him to.

But for now he finds contentment
in simple little things -
like finding goodies in the grass
as the bird above him sings.

And though his little rodent brain
is no bigger than a pea,
it seems that he's the lucky one,
'cuz he's happy: just to be.

Life is full of beauty, babe
you needn't look too far.
It all depends on how you choose
to look at where you are.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Yesterday I went into the city with L to hang with one of our friends from college. E lives in Manhattan and is a singer/waitress. I'd say she was a 'struggling musician', but she works at a really classy restaurant on the Upper West Side and makes more money than I do. So no, she's not allowed to be called 'struggling'. We ended up going to South Street Seaport to see this.

Wow. First of all, I am a fairly squeamish person. I can't cut up raw meat, and I get really freaked out by those surgery programs on TV. Hell, I can't even change a diaper (if you can consider that relative). And, while it did take me a little while to get over the initial shock and nausea, I ended up finding the whole thing extremely fascinating.

I've always wondered what a person looks like on the inside. Like, how can 25 ft. of intestines fit in your abdomen, along with all the other organs? And if someone has something like their appendix taken out, is there a big hole somewhere? Seeing the real deal put a lot of things in perspective. The human body is absolutely amazing -- I couldn't help but get a little religious/spiritual about it all.

I think what got me thinking was the fact that every single one of us has all this stuff inside us - all the different systems and parts - and yet, who ever thinks about it? I mean, unless we start to get sick or something we just kinda take it all for granted.

Afterwards, we went to a place on the pier for dinner (but not too soon afterwards, as we needed some time to clear the images). We dined outside for optimal people-watching. It was neat for me because I was thinking that even though no two people looked alike on the outside - different sizes, shapes, colors, etc. - inside, everyone's the same. [swell dramatic music and roll credits]

I then proceeded to beat up my liver with a Cosmo.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Yesterday I attended a two-part media workshop on iMovie. I began dabbling with the program back when I was still with the Brit - he was a fairly accomplished media nerd - and I really liked working with it. So much that I started making my own school-based projects of trips and stuff. Which ended up making the Art teacher look bad, as he has served as Media Coordinator for the past few years and his responsibilities included making school-based projects of trips and stuff. As fate would have it, Art Teacher has decided to step down next year so I can take a shot at it. Mmm... stipend.

So yesterday I got up early and drove out to the local university. It's amazing how soon one can forget what it's like to have to get up and go anywhere work-related. I can't even BELIEVE the amount of traffic I sat in - both on the way there and back. New Jersey's population is becoming like China's, and the further east you head in the state, the worse it gets. I quickly grew surly and wished Blue Beetle had a pair of testicles dangling off its back. I'm pretty sure people woulda done got the hell outa my way if it did.

The workshop was part of a three-day digital media institute, and there were tons of courses in many different programs being offered. It was really quite awesome. I was one of eight people registered for iMovie, most of us were public school teachers, I was probably the youngest one there.

One thing I hate about taking any kind of computer-related workshop with older people is that well, they're just plain STUPID. Okay, perhaps that's a bit harsh. And frankly, I'm sure that people younger than myself would find ME to be technologically inferior to them, and that would probably be true. Cause doesn't it seem like these days, one's level of technological savvy is somehow an inverse correlation to their age? I know some 12 year-olds who could definitely kick MY ass.

So there was the one lady behind me who kept mumbling things like, "What does he mean by 'desktop'?" The woman next to her couldn't control her computer's volume and just KEPT ON CLICKING various audio samples. There was an older guy somewhere who insisted on adding his personal comments to every one that the instructor made. And then there was the woman next to me who kept asking for my help, and then kept getting mad at me for helping her.

At one point, the instructor made a fatal mistake by quickly demonstrating a program called Sketchup. Their eyes got wide and they began to drool. You would think he had shown them how to make fire for the very first time. Getting them back on task was no small feat.

All in all, it was a great class. I learned a whole lot more about a great program, and the media lab at the college was AMAZING -- the new Macbooks are sweeeet. And so with my new-founded technological wizardry, I shall set off to do great things. Starting with videotaping the cats.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Anyone who hangs these off the back of their vehicle...

Have you seen this? Today I had the good fortune of driving behind a giant, black pickup which was sporting a set. They complimented the gun rack nicely. The ensemble was tastily rounded with the bumper stickers: No Fear, NRA, W2004 and those yellow ribbon "Support Our Troops" magnets (the profits of which I am certain go straight to our troops).

So I came home and Googled "balls for trucks" and found that there are actually more than one company that manufactures truck testicles. I guess it's because when you're looking to purchase automotive genitalia, it's always best to comparison shop.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Wow! How is it Sunday night already? It's been a great weekend, despite the rain. And the fact that it's supposed to rain for the next - oh, ten days or so. It was so very good.

Last night we went to see The Amazing Kreskin. What was truly amazing is that we were easily the youngest people in the audience. I have never seen so much osteoporosis in one room that wasn't a geriatric ward. Funniest comment of the evening was by HIM as we were watching one particularly afflicted gentleman, who was shaped remarkably like the letter S:

"God, I hope I never end up looking like that guy... who... happens to be wearing the same shoes as me."


In other news, I am a recent subscriber of NetFlix, and have been renting the DVDs of "The Sopranos, Season I". I'd never seen any episodes, and am basically a self-proclaimed hater of all things Mafia. I've never even seen "The Godfather" (I know, shut up). In fact, my only mob-movie experience was "Casino", which I saw kind of by accident, as it was playing during a trip I took on a charter bus and I really didn't have much choice but to watch. And I hated it.

But I fucking LOOOVE "The Sopranos"!! And I love NetFlix. And today I also watched "Deliverance" because it's one of those cult classics that I always hear referenced but had never seen. And kind of wish I never had. Thank God I saw it AFTER the kayak trip otherwise I'm sure I'd have spent the whole ride listening for dueling banjos.

That's all. Oh, and I got new sneakers. And they're great. You can tell sneakers are great when you put them on and don't feel like you have anything on your feet.

That's it.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


We had our first fight.
Through tears and talks, we resolved.
Make-up sex is good.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


A few years ago, I was dating a guy whom we now refer to as "Psycho Jim" (for a myriad of reasons, none of which I will bother to expound on at this time.) One evening, Psycho Jim and I went to JCPenney's so he could be fitted for a suit. While he was having his inseam measured, I took a stroll around the Men's department and came upon a bin of random pieces of clothing marked for clearance. While sifting through the garments, I happened upon the BIGGEST FUCKING PAIR OF UNDERPANTS EVER! And they were only 99¢ - so naturally, I bought them, knowing full well that they possessed unlimited potential for fun.

Alas, Psycho Jim did not last very long. But as anticipated, the BIG underwear (aka: "The Mighty Whities") have served me well.

Today, my school-teacher colleagues and I embarked on our annual 'Faculty Float Trip' down the Delaware River. It was a perfect day and we had a great group of fun people - in canoes and kayaks - covering the eight miles from Milford to Dingman's, PA. There was a nice wind which I was able to take advantage of...

Summertime. And the livin' is oh-so-easy.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Dear Dad,

You've been gone four years now. So much has changed since then. The world is still a crazy place - war, famine, debt, natural disasters -- you're not missing too much in that sense. But it's not all bad.

Ma has two new hips & two new knees - she's practically bionic. You have two beautiful grandsons. There have been many times when Bean will look at me a certain way and I see you looking out through his eyes. I have no doubt that you're with him.

I think about you so much. There's so much I'd like to talk about if you were here. I know I wasn't always the greatest daughter, but let's face it, you weren't exactly Ward Cleaver either (you've certainly helped to make me the insecure, commitment-phobic cynic that I am today... thanks.)

Mental illness is a terrible thing to live with - you struggled with it throughout your whole life. But somewhere underneath it all was a kind, caring man. Every now and then, we'd catch a glimpse of him in your occasional smile and through your artwork. I'd like to think that he's the one you became when you died - shedding your shroud of darkness like a snake sheds its skin.

I saw your real eyes once - dark, wide and terrified. But they were ALIVE. And they're the eyes I choose to remember. In the end, the bad memories fade and we're left with only the good, warm ones that leave a mark in our hearts. I wish I'd known you better. I wish you could see your family now as I know you would be so very proud. I am proud to be your daughter.

Much love always.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What's cool about life is that at any given moment, we're making a choice. And whatever we choose to do at that moment will alter future moments and choices. Like a real-life "choose your own adventure" book.

Everything we have right now - where we are, our jobs, our relationships, etc. - were all brought about by choice. True, sometimes life throws a curveball - illness, accidents, etc. - but it's ultimately up to us to choose how we deal with the situation. And those choices go on to shape the rest of our futures.

Ever be driving down the highway and think, "if I were to jerk my wheel over to the left, my car would flip onto the median and life as I know it would end"? That's a scary realization of power when you think about it.

I'm happy with the choices I've made in life so far. I think I've been lucky.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


We were watching a TiVo'd episode of The Colbert Report tonight [one of the greatest shows ever] and the topic was how kids today are smarter than those of generations past. And how the video games they are playing are actually helping to make them smarter.

I hafta say, I think I may agree.

As someone who spends her days around kids, I definitely find them to be a whole lot more savvy than I was at that age. Keep in mind, I may have just been stupid. But sometimes my 12, 13 & 14-year old students say and do things that blow my mind. For instance, this year a group of 8th graders formed an independent organization to raise awareness of the situation in Darfur. They even went down to Washington DC for the rallies.

When I was in 8th grade, I was far too busy posting Ralph Macchio and Kirk Cameron pin-ups on my walls, and standing in line to get tickets for the "New Kids On The Block" concert to take notice of such trivialities as genocides in third-world nations.

And my students say really funny shit.

Like when we were up in Boston at the House of Seven Gables. I had a group of about 10 kids and we were being led on a tour of the house. Our tour guide was a little, old woman named Betsy - white hair, period clothing, the whole bit. The house was filled with tons of antiques, each bearing a small sign reading: "Circa [date]".

"Does anyone know what 'circa' means?" asked Betsy.
"Yeah - like when it was from," one of them answered.

As we moved on, I heard two of my students talking under their breath...

"When do you think Betsy's from?"
"I'm thinking circa Pangaea."
"Hehe... circa Big Bang."

Now come on, how could I possibly scold them for such comments, when what I really wanted to do was hold them up and celebrate their budding genius? Once again, I may not be the best model of authority. Good thing school's out. Now I can stop pretending to be an adult.

Monday, June 12, 2006


HE woke up this morning and HIS eyes were puffy and swollen shut. So HE called in sick to work and actually made an appointment to see a doctor. This is major, cause HE's not a big fan of doctors.

Throughout the course of the day, I got text messages - updates on HIS appointment time, when HE was sitting in the waiting room, etc. Finally, HE called to let me know the outcome. It turned out to only be a stye - and I do believe HE was disappointed...

"All that drama and it turns out to be a stupid stye," HE sulked.
"That's too bad. I was hoping for your sake it would at least be eye cancer or something."
"I know."
"Well, maybe next time. Meanwhile, maybe I can bring you home some chlamydia?"

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Wow, what a great week it's been! Where do I start? I guess with the Boston trip. I'd volunteered to chaperone the annual 8th grade trip to Boston because this was one of the greatest classes of kids ever. I remember thinking back when they were 6th graders, "Shit - one day these kids are going to be 8th graders and they're going to graduate." And sadly, that day has come.

The trip was really great, despite torrential downpours and monsoon-like conditions for 2 out of the 3 days. We did Quincy Market, the USS Constitution and the Science Museum. One night, we saw a performance of Blue Man Group (it's some crazy-ass shit), and the next night we took a harbor dinner cruise (which felt a lot like being in a floating VFW post). On the last day we drove up to Salem and did the House of Seven Gables (zzzzz) and the Witch Dungeon (creepy).

The kids were so much fun. They never bitched about the rain, they just really enjoyed each others' company. And I loved seeing them "out of the element" - outside school. Being fourteen is such an awkward and exciting time. It was cute watching couples form throughout the trip - sitting boy/girl on the bus - and embarrassing them by doing periodic "hand checks".

Then there was after-hours at the hotel. As chaperones, we had to sit in the halls and make sure no one escaped to other rooms. Every few minutes a door would crack open and a head would peek out, see us out there and quickly close the door. And then there was the brilliant room of girls that actually used a mirror to scope things out.

I thought back to my high school band geek days and all the trips we took. And all the trouble we'd get in... Disconnecting the water to the staff cabin (this one time, at bandcamp) Stealing mini-liquor bottles of the airplane on the way to Florida. Locking one of the younger teachers in the bus bathroom at a rest stop en route to Virginia Beach (little did we know he was claustrophobic -- until his ass came smashing through the window). Yes, good times indeed...

With all these fond memories, it made it very hard for me to be a stern chaperone. After all, it's the naughty stuff that you remember, and what makes the trip fun. Hell, it's probably why I went into teaching in the first place!

So it was a great time. And I was able to get to know some of the other teachers too. We teachers tend to be a little clique-y amongst ourselves, so this was a good opportunity to step outside my little circle. And I liked it.

And I've rambled but have only gotten through Boston, and still have so much to say! But school is over on Tuesday and I have three months ahead of me with nothing on the agenda (aside from an assload of running). Perhaps I'll save some topics for those lazy, hazy days.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Leaving for Boston tomorrow morning.

Chaperoning the 8th grade trip for 3 days, 2 nights.

Yes, I volunteered.

No, I wasn't not drunk.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Yesterday was Field Day at my school. For those of you unfamiliar with the occasion, Field Day is an annual event in which the student body is divided into 2 teams - in our case, Orange & Blue - and they compete against each other all day long in field events [hence "Field Day"]. It's the one day of the year when the gym teachers are running the show. They assign all of the teachers, in pairs, to oversee each event. We all hate it. It's kinda like doing community service.

When I got up in the morning and checked the weather, they were calling for heavy rain, and I assumed we'd have to cancel. Except that our two gym teachers are former Nazi soldiers. I was paired with PMcQ on a game called "Hidden Ball" [yes, innuendos did fly all day long]

It actually wasn't all bad. PMcQ had lawn chairs in her car and we decided to move the playing field over just enough so we could park our asses in the shade. The game kind of runs itself -- all we had to do was explain the rules before each round. Our 'rules' speech became more elaborate as the day passed, including such tidbits as: "Tagging is not tackling" and "Cheating is wrong. Remember, solid foundations of relationships are built on trust and communication." [confused, blank expressions]

It did finally rain at the end of the day, causing us to cancel the last round and move inside for the closing ceremony: 300+ sweaty, muddy, screaming, face-painted kids in the [un-air conditioned] gym. Mmmmm...

All in all, not a bad day. And afterwards, we teachers had our own Field Day. With cosmos.